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How To Prepare UPSC Civil Services Mains Paper - 1

Strategy For General Study Paper - 1 (How to Prepare UPSC Civil Services Mains Paper -1)

How to Prepare UPSC Civil Services Mains Paper | General Study paper 1 for UPSC is a subjective paper which includes subjects Indian society, Art and culture, History and Geography.

IAS mains exam consists of nine papers in which GS paper 1st is the part of the four General Studies paper. You will have to take a look at the GS I syllabus for the preparation of the IAS exam.


General studies paper 1 includes subjects – 

Indian society – social issues, Demography and development in Indian society

History- modern history ,world history

NCERT notes are also important for modern history and Geography.

In the general studies paper I of IAS, generally direct questions are asked. In History, questions are asked from ancient, medieval, modern history and world history.


You will need to connect the static syllabus of GS paper I with the current affairs in some topics of Indian society and Geography.


Make your focus on these areas for General Studies – 1

Art and culture :

1- Temple architecture

2- Literature

3- Classical dances

4- Themes of ancient Indian history

5- Music and musical instruments


India after independence and political philosophies :

1- Communism

2- Socialism

3- Capitalism

4- Cdmission of princely states

5- Important movements after 1947

6- Role of important personalities


Modern history :

1- Four important movements-boycott, Swadeshi movement, khilafat, civil disobedience non cooperation movement

2- Contributions of important personalities (Indian and foreign as well)

3- Religious or social reform movements( famous personalities and their contributions)


World History –

1- World war first and second

2- American, Russian, French and Industrial revolution

3- International face of the Indian express and The Hindu

4- Current affairs


Society of India :

1- Issues in Indian society

2- Women empowerment

3- Diversity in India


Geography :

1- Climate change

2- Water bodies

3- Natural resources

4- location of industries in India

5- Hurricane, cyclones and Earthquakes


Every topic has his own value!! remember this!


Some important resources for General studies paper 1 are –

History and Post – Independence Integration of Modern India: Youth Destination Notes, New NCERT (Part-III of 6th grade and 12th)

Indian Society – Youth Destination Notes, Yojna, Kurukshetra

Geography – Youth Destination Notes, New NCERT (11th grade and 12th grade)

History of the World – Youth Destination Notes, New NCERT (9th, 10th, 11th grade),


The syllabus of  UPSC GS Paper – 1

-Indian society



-Poverty and Developmental issues


-Effects of globalisation on Indian society

-Social Empowerment

-Role of women and women organisation -population

-Salient features of Indian society, diversity of India history

-Urbanisation their problems and remedies



-The freedom struggle its various stage and important contributions from different parts of the country

-Post independence consolidation and reorganization within the country

-Modern Indian history from about the middle of 18th century until the present significant events issues and personalities

-World history includes the events from the 18th century easy world war industrial revolution colonization decolonization political philosophy like capitalism come management socialism their effect on society redrawal of national boundaries.



-Distribution  of key Natural Resources across the world

-Salient features of World’s Physical Geography.

-Factors which are responsible for the location of primary, secondary and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the World.


Art and culture 

-Salient features of literature, Art Forms, Architecture from Ancient to modern times.


These some topics are highly important for GS paper 1 –

Indian society-poverty women empowerment secularism and communalism

History- Salt Satyagraha, Independence struggle, Rowlatt act and Jallianwala Bagh massacre

Art and literature-Tribal paintings of India, Types of classical dances of India, Woods dispatch, Temple architecture styles, puppetry

Geography-Cyclones, Earthquake, Erosional landforms and types of rocks

In GS 1 syllabus questions (How to Prepare UPSC Civil Services Mains Paper) are asked directly from the topics and sometimes current affair based questions are also asked.

Pattern of IAS exam

Prelims Exam-General Studies + aptitude test


Mains exam :  

1 – Paper A (one of the 22 Indian languages)

2 – Paper B(English)


Papers Which are counted for merit list

-Paper I (Essay)

-PaperII (GS-I)

-PaperIII (GS-II)

-PaperIV (GS-III)

-PaperV (GS-IV)

-PaperVI (Optional Paper-I)

-Paper-VII (Optional Paper-II)



In paper II(GS 1) indian society and geography are the subjects which are related to current affairs. These topics can be prepared with the help of monthly magazines and some other resources like gist of Yojana and Kurukshetra, best of PIB, news analysis and ARC reports. (How to Prepare UPSC Civil Services Mains Paper)


Some Important features and detailed structure of UPSC General  Studies paper 1

1- There will be 20 compulsory questions in this paper in Hindi and English as well. You will have to answer the question in the language which you have selected in application form

2- This paper carry 250 marks

3- the word limit for the question of 10 marks is 150 words and 15 marks is 250

4- Some important topics of Indian society syllabus from which questions are framed: Secularism, Culture of Indian society, women empowerment etc.

5- Topics Related to current affairs are most important in the Geography syllabus.


In history syllabus, history topics are more important eg Indian Renaissance, Freedom struggle etc.


Details of the syllabus for General Studies paper first –


Art and culture

General studies paper has increased in number from two to four since  2013.

And CSAT  is now a qualifying paper. Only GS paper essay and optional papers marks are counted for the merit list.


Some preparation tips –

1- Practice Previous year mock test

2- Solve at least 10 years previous year question papers so that you can get access to the type of questions.

3- You can also see the answer copies of toppers. It will Help you to pick up significant elements which you can apply in your answers. Solve  practice sets on a regular basis.

4- You have no need to read so many books to cover the syllabus of GS 1st for UPSC read only relevant chapters to  GS paper 1st syllabus and revise it

5- To get a higher score in GS first, study material is not quite important. How do you understand the concepts? It really doesn’t matter. You will have to make a strong grip with over the syllabus and revise the all facts just before the exam

6- Some students do not Join mock test series and wait for more preparation to perform their best. It  is not too good. Join mock test series from today and improve yourself day by day.

7- Complete your mock test within time limits. Don’t cheat yourself by taking extra minutes to complete the paper.

8- Sometimes you find any question in the GS paper which has no clue. You also have no clear idea about it then read only generic points in your answer.

9- This exam also checks your endurance. You will have to write almost 6 hour daily and until 5 days. It can create physical and mental stress. You  will have to conquer this by practicing enough before the mains exam.

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